Charles P. Forbes


I was born in St. Louis in 1940, son of James H. Forbes who was then President of the Jas. H. Forbes Tea and Coffee Company, which had be stated in St. Louis in 1853 by his grandfather, my great grandfather, James H. Forbes.

Forbes products were around the house, and I grew up familiar with the business. I visited my father at his office, in the factory in downtown St. Louis, often, and got to know a number of the employees. My cousin, David Orwig, was Vice-President and ran the spice department. My father ran the tea and coffee operation.

In my teens I decided that I did not want to succeed my father in the business, and in fact there was no one in the family of my generation that wanted to continue the family tradition. Thus, in 1956 the company was sold outside the family. It turned out to be an excellent decision, as regional food companies were being swamped by the big national companies via the national advertising medium of television.

I went on to college (Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois; the American University in Beirut, Lebanon; and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor). Living in Ann Arbor in the early 1970's I saw Forbes products on grocery shelves for the last time!

I have been a teacher, camp director, civil servant, and now am the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Baltimore in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). My wife Marilyn and I have two sons, Craig and Jay. Both are married and live in Maryland. Craig has a son, Cory, born in 2000. I, Craig, Jay, and Cory are the only living descendants of the original James H. Forbes who bear the Forbes surname.

But this isn't supposed to by my story--it is the story of the family business. Click here to begin reading that story.

You can e-mail me at with questions, comments, or other information.

Charles Forbes

Baltimore, Maryland

Originally posted, October, 2001

Last revision, October, 2001.